Less than a month after christening its fourth ship for the German-speaking market, TUI Cruises today announced further expansion with an order for two new vessels.
The cruise line – a joint venture of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and the Hannover, Germany-based travel and tourism company TUI Group – cited occupancy of more than 100 percent in its four-ship fleet last year in explaining the continued expansion.
The evolution of TUI Cruises has been extraordinary,” said Richard D. Fain, RCL chairman and chief executive officer. “The addition of two additional new builds reinforces TUI’s leadership position in the premium cruise market and further solidifies the successful partnership of our two companies.”
The new builds, as yet unnamed, are planned for 2018 and 2019, when they will replace Mein Schiff 1 (My Ship 1) and Mein Schiff 2, in service since TUI Cruises began operations in May 2009. Both of the older ships, which came to TUI from Celebrity Cruises, will then be transferred to the Thomson Cruises, part of TUI Group.
Mein Schiff 3, TUI Cruises’ first new build, entered service in May 2014, followed this year by Mein Schiff 4. Mein Schiff 5 and Mein Schiff 6 are to join the fleet in 2016 and 2017, respectively. The builder is Meyer Turku Shipyard Oy, formerly STX Finland Turku.
In announcing its fleet expansion and modernization, TUI Cruises dismissed as “completely unfounded” rumors of mergers or other “joint activities,” and said the two-ship transfer to Thomson Cruises does not signal a shift to international service.
“We believe that a modern fleet will be successful in the German-speaking market in the long term,” TUI Cruises explained in a news release. “The Mein Schiff fleet will remain a concept that is exclusive to the German-speaking market.”
TUI Cruises also acknowledged that its original ships will be missed by their many fans, but said a fleet of newer ships can “be even more responsive to our guests’ needs.
“Our new ships will not only have more staterooms with balconies but also more space as such. More space means more culinary variety in the form of new restaurants and bars, as well as a wide range of entertainment with possibilities for classical music and comedy in the ‘Klanghaus’ and other possible concepts to come.
“Last but certainly not least, our new ships will be more energy efficient and environmentally friendly.”
While catering to the well-being and relaxation of onboard guests, the Mein Schiff new builds incorporate innovative green technology that reduces toxic sulphur emissions by as much as 99 percent, and particulate emissions by 60 percent.